Over the last three years Micro Rainbow Brazil carried out four entrepreneurship courses for LGBT people in Rio de Janeiro. The results of these were so positive that the European Union allocated resources for an additional course in 2018. In January, selection for a 5th course opened.
MRI had little time to advertise the course, between Christmas celebrations and Carnival at the beginning of February, nonetheless, more than 150 people registered. Excellent candidates with diverse businesses made the selection process extremely difficult. MRI held two mandatory talks to meet the pre-selected candidates and learn about their businesses. Eventually, MRI selected 30 students. The choice was based on criteria of previous entrepreneurial skills and experience, as well as socioeconomic vulnerability. MRI also considered the representativeness of each segment of the LGBT community.
Diverse personalities and singular products
On 12th March, classes started with a diverse group in all senses:
- trans (11),
- cis (19)
- and non-binary (1) identities,
of different sexual orientations, ages and levels of education.
This diversity is also reflected in their small businesses:
- products and services,
- formal and informal,
- businesses already established and others still in the planning stage.
They work in fashion, beauty, photography, events, technology and catering. Compared to the previous course, there are more businesses in fashion and events than cooking, which was the largest sector of the 4th course. In this group also appeared some new things, such as doula (birth and labour coaching) service and products for pets. Just as in previous classes, some businesses are geared toward the LGBT market.
Experience from the four previous courses showed that varied composition, instead of diffusing the learning process, enables enriching exchanges between students, in addition to producing diverse and productive links.
New features of the 5th course
Learning from previous courses led to the introduction of some new features. Former students Isabela Colucci and Isaac Gomes now act as mentors to current students helping them to better understand the content taught and to produce their business plans. Former student Andréa Brazil responds to students’ demands, helps them keep their motivation and integrates the team.
In addition to the modules Business Management and Financial Education, taught by the instructor Leidmar Verneque on previous courses , a new module entitled Personal Development was incorporated. Facilitated by psychologists Luciano Soares and Daniel de Araújo, the objective is helping students to uncover and face the issues that hinder their professional growth.
MRI Brazil expects that at the end of these two months, these 30 entrepreneurs will be able to better develop their professional and entrepreneurial potential and understand how to organize both their business and personal finances. They will become part of building and strengthening the network of LGBT entrepreneurs in the making. In this time of deep economic crisis and growing conservatism, in which the LGBT community is attacked and has its rights threatened, such a union is fundamental to safety, economic independence and hope.